In addition to all of the other challenges involved with traveling in the Polar Regions, the conditions can take a serious toll on your electronics. This can be dangerous; if your camera is frozen up or your batteries are dead, how will you get the shot of your buddy being dragged helplessly along by the dogsled to send to all his friends? After all, If there isn’t a picture of it, it didn’t happen.
Here are some tips, tricks, and recommendations for caring for your electronics in the cold.
Cold temperatures drain batteries, but the solution is simple.
Keep your batteries warm and have extras.
For anything devices that you aren’t constantly using, take the battery out and store it somewhere warm (a pocket in your baselayer works great) until you want to use the device. If you forget to take the battery out after using, you’ll notice that it drains very quickly. However, the charge will come back after you get the battery warm again.
For non-rechargable batteries use Lithium Ion rather than the standard NiMH batteries. They keep their charge a lot better in the cold, but the same rules apply. Get them warm before you need to use them.
ProTip: Run your video cameras at the highest resolution and frame rate available. It makes the camera run hotter and while it will burn more battery, it will extend the time your camera will stay on before shutting down due to the cold. Adhesive toe warmers stuck near the battery help extend the length of your video shots too.
So you’re going on a 10-day expedition to the South Pole. You need a solar panel to recharge your camera, phone, and ipod right? THINK AGAIN! Why rely on a solar panel when you can carry a battery pack that will provide all the juice you need without needing perfect weather conditions to function? Depending on your power needs, you can even share a battery pack between two or three people, streamlining your electronic kit even more.
Less is more
It can be tempting to go overboard. You don’t need a DSLR AND an Ipad AND GoPro AND a backup point-and-shoot AND three Ipods. Your kit system is complicated enough without all the fluff; Only bring what you’ll actually use.
Join on to our Polar Shakedown Training to practice these and all of the other skills necessary to THRIVE (not just survive) on you next Polar Adventure.